“Caprica” has a lot of challenges facing it when it makes its Syfy debut on Jan. 22.
Not only will it have to try and show that the “primetime soap opera” format can work for science-fiction, but that it can somehow survive in the shadow of its predecessor, one “Battlestar Galactica.”
The challenge, executive producer and former showrunner Jane Espenson said last summer, is to deliver “up to the quality of what ‘Battlestar’ presented” along with the “quality of the effects, the density of characterization and the sense of being a real place.”
That means adding elements that “Battlestar” simply couldn’t have, including a late-night style comedy program hosted by a character played by Patton Oswalt.
“Late-night comedy shows continue, [and it’s] a big media presence within our show,” Espenson told Airlock Alpha during San Diego Comic-Con last July. It allows fans to “see what the humor is of the colonies.”
“Caprica” itself takes place more than 50 years before the events depicted in “Caprica,” and Friday’s premiere will essentially be the same episode that was released on DVD last year and online late last year, but there will be some differences with added scenes and some other adjustments here and there as “Caprica” goes into series mode.
“Obviously, in the pilot, they were reeling from this immediate attack,” Espenson said of a terrorist attack that affects the main character families of the Graystones and the Adamas. “But our show is going to pick up about a month after. And people will be back in your normal mode, where they can joke and laugh and try to cheer each other up.”
One thing that may never be explained explicitly but what Espenson and her crew had to think about, is how the Twelve Colonies can be on separate planets. Espenson said she worked with “Battlestar” science consultant Kevin Grazier to develop it, and basically the colonies will be a part of a cluster of stars.
“It’s all worked out,” Espenson said. “They are an easy shuttle flight distance from each other, without all crowding into the same orbit.”
Two of the colonies will actually orbit Ragnar, which was featured in the “Battlestar Galactica” pilot, she said. At least one other colony won’t actually be on a planet, but on on a “band” of material situated in a life zone between two uninhabitable planets.
For the entire video interview Espenson did with Airlock Alpha, click here.
“Caprica” premieres Jan. 22 at 9 p.m ET on Syfy.